CBP grows 14 Orions strong

CBP p-3 orion

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Air and Marine Operations (AMO) recently announced the completion of its 14th and final planned P-3 Orion aircraft overhaul.

The CBP has been taking old P-3s (mainly A models) from the desert in the best condition and sending them through a SLEP program that provides new wings and tail for each Orion and completely strips down the aircraft to its bare metal for inspection. Out goes the Navy’s ASW gear, in goes new avionics and Custom’s mission systems, then they get a paint job in Homeland Security livery.

“AMO has provided a new lease on life for this aircraft that was sitting in the desert, just three years ago.” said Mike Toner, Designated Agency Representative at the Greenville, South Carolina Depot in a statement. “I flew the desert aircraft from Tucson, Arizona to Greenville. It’s great to see her flying in CBP colors now and ready to serve for years to come.”

Once the USN transitions fully to the P-8 by 2019, CBP will be the 4th largest user of the P-3 platform in the world behind Japan (73 P-3C and 13 modified Elint variants– though they are rapidly being replaced by the Kawasaki P-1), the Royal Australian Air Force (18 AP-3C, 1 P-3C) and the ROK Navy (16 P-3CKs). It is very likely that by 2020, once the P-1 gets fully produced, CBP will be the biggest Orion herder left.

Other P-3 operators are eager to keep their vintage birds in the air as well.

Flight Global reports that Boeing has been signed by New Zealand to conduct upgrades on their P-3K2 Orions. The $26.06 million deal will see Boeing replace aging, less reliable systems on the Orions, allowing the country to re-instate its ASW capability. What’s a P-3K2, exactly? The Kiwi Orions have been in service since 1966, with five aircraft originally delivered as P-3Bs, and then upgraded in the 1980s to P-3K standard. A subsequent upgrade saw them designated as P-3K2s. The new systems (which will make them P-3K3s?) will help keep them in the air through the mid-2020s.

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About laststandonzombieisland

Let me introduce myself. I am a bit of a conflict junkie. I am fascinated by war and warfare, assassination, personal protection and weaponry ranging from spud guns and flame throwers to thermonuclear bombs and Soviet-trained Ebola monkeys. In short, if it’s violent or a tool to create violence it is kind of my thing. I have written a few thousand articles on the dry encyclopedia side for such websites as Guns.com, University of Guns, Outdoor Hub, Tac-44, History Times, Big Game Hunter, Glock Forum, Firearms Talk.com, and Combat Forums; as well as for print publications like England Expects, and Strike First Strike Fast. Several magazines such as Sea Classics, Military Historian and Collector, Mississippi Sportsman and Warship International have carried my pieces. Additionally I am on staff as a naval consultant and writer for Eye Spy Intelligence Magazine. Currently I am working on several book projects including an alternative history novel about the US-German War of 1916, and a biography of Southern gadfly and soldier of fortune Bennett Doty. My first novel, about the coming zombie apocalypse was released in 2012 by Necro Publications and can be found at Amazon.com as was the prequel, Chimera-44. I am currently working on book two of that series: "Pirates of the Zombie Coast." In my day job I am a contractor for the U.S. federal government in what could best be described as the ‘Force Protection’ field. In this I am an NRA-certified firearms, and less-than-lethal combat instructor.

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